FanGraphs Power Rankings: Opening Day 2023

Welcome back baseball! After an exciting and dramatic World Baseball Classic to whet our appetites, the main course is finally here. I introduced these power rankings a few years ago as a way to think about all 30 teams in baseball and stack them up against each other outside of the rigid structures of leagues or divisions. Nearly every major site has some form of power rankings, usually derived from whatever panel of experts each site employs. These rankings, though, are entirely data driven.

A reminder for how these rankings are calculated: first, we take the three most important components of a team — their offense (wRC+), their pitching (a 50/50 blend of FIP- and RA9-, weighted by starter and reliever IP share), and their defense (RAA) — and combine them to create an overall team quality metric. For these offseason power rankings, I’ve used each team’s projected stats based on their Depth Charts projections which are now powered by our blend of ZiPS and Steamer projections. I’ve also used the projected fielding component of WAR that appears on our Depth Charts projections as the defensive component for each team in lieu of RAA.

Tier 1 – World Series Favorites
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality Playoff Odds
Braves 92-70 106 89 89 11.4 174 90.5%
Yankees 91-71 105 91 97 42.1 172 81.0%

The Braves haven’t budged from the top of these rankings throughout this offseason. Sure, the Mets spent a ton of money this offseason, and the Phillies just went to the World Series, but Atlanta has owned this division for the last half decade. There are still some lingering questions, however. Orlando Arcia likely isn’t the long-term solution at shortstop, but both Vaughn Grissom and Braden Shewmake were optioned to Triple-A last week; the former has some defensive issues to work through, and the latter needs more exposure to high-level pitching before being handed a job in the big leagues. There are also some injury concerns in their pitching staff, with both Kyle Wright and Raisel Iglesias dealing with shoulder issues this spring and Michael Soroka not fully recovered from his many maladies. Still, this team is loaded with young talent and poised to win its sixth consecutive division title.

The big storyline for the Yankees this spring has been the competition for starting shortstop, with top prospect Anthony Volpe earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. That should provide youthful excitement to cover the very real concerns in the rotation and outfield. Harrison Bader likely won’t be out for long with his strained oblique, but his absence has revealed how shallow the position group is when Aaron Judge has to slide over to center field. And injuries of varying severity to Carlos Rodón, Luis Severino, and Frankie Montas aren’t exactly how you want to start off the season.

Tier 2 – On the Cusp of Greatness
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality Playoff Odds
Padres 90-72 111 100 101 0.4 127 85.0%
Blue Jays 89-73 111 100 101 20.1 151 71.6%
Mets 89-73 108 94 102 5.4 144 77.4%
Astros 89-73 111 99 99 -3.4 138 77.5%

The Padres have done everything they possibly could to position themselves as favorites in the NL West this year. They made huge, franchise-altering trades last summer and spent a ton of money this offseason, signing big free agents and long-term extensions with their established superstars. They’re projected to win three more games than the Dodgers and are hoping to secure their first division title since 2006. The early-season concerns about their pitching depth are something to watch, but it looks like Joe Musgrove will only miss a single turn in the rotation, and Yu Darvish should be on track as well. And after the first month of the season, Fernando Tatis Jr. returns.

After their agonizing Wild Card round loss, the Blue Jays reshaped the edges of their roster. The core is still present — Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Alek Manoah are a fantastic trio to build around — but Toronto overhauled its outfield and added Chris Bassitt and Erik Swanson to the pitching staff. There are still lingering questions about what the team is going to get out of José Berríos, Yusei Kikuchi, and Brandon Belt, but the talent level on this roster is as good, if not better, than it was last year.

Instead of heading into the season with high expectations fueling tons of excitement, the Mets are reeling from the loss of Edwin Díaz. There are in-house options to cover the ninth inning, but there really is no way to replace one of the best relievers in the game. New York’s playoff odds fell by nearly five points after Díaz’s injury, and his absence particularly in the postseason will certainly be felt. Luckily, the rest of the roster is plenty strong enough to challenge the Braves for the NL East title once again.

I’m sure I’ll regret ranking the reigning World Champions this low to start the season, but no team has won back-to-back World Series in more than two decades. Houston did upgrade at first base, bringing in Jose Abreu to replace Yuli Gurriel, but the pitching staff lost Justin Verlander, and the rotation feels ill equipped to handle any hiccups if Hunter Brown should stumble, especially considering the ongoing issues with Lance McCullers Jr.’s elbow. And then there’s Jose Altuve’s fractured thumb, which should keep him sidelined until at least June. The Astros are still projected to be one of the best teams in the American League, but they’re looking more vulnerable than they have in years.

Tier 3 – Solid Contenders
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality Playoff Odds
Dodgers 87-75 107 97 99 10.9 152 70.7%
Rays 87-75 104 94 100 9.7 138 61.4%

Speaking of vulnerable teams, the Dodgers enter the season as the underdog in the NL West for the first time in more than a decade. They made a bunch of smaller moves to patch over roster holes this offseason, with many of those new players looking to bounce back after down seasons. That puts a lot of pressure on their player development resources, but their track record speaks for itself. Still, if the development team can’t work its magic on players like Noah Syndergaard, J.D. Martinez, Jason Heyward, and David Peralta, it’s going to be tough to overcome the powerhouse San Diego has built.

The Rays are looking to run back the majority of a roster that won 86 games last year. It’s a pretty good plan considering that they were among the league leaders in run prevention last year. They’re also hoping for a significant step forward from Wander Franco and a healthy campaign from Brandon Lowe. They’re playing in what should be the most difficult division in baseball, but they’ve proven they can compete with the biggest clubs in the league year in and year out.

Tier 4 – The Melee
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality Playoff Odds
Cardinals 85-77 106 101 99 4.4 119 67.5%
Angels 85-77 107 98 104 -8.2 114 47.5%
Twins 83-79 102 101 100 25.8 129 47.5%
Phillies 84-78 98 93 99 0.1 104 51.8%
Guardians 82-80 101 103 97 26.3 123 47.3%
Mariners 83-79 103 102 99 4.7 110 40.6%
Brewers 84-78 97 92 100 -5.1 96 59.0%

The Cardinals have been bounced out of the postseason in the first round for the last three years in a row. Their path back into the playoffs is pretty clear, but what isn’t clear is if they’ve improved enough to push past that point. They brought in Willson Contreras to replace the legendary Yadier Molina, which should be a pretty significant upgrade. They’ve also given top prospect Jordan Walker a shot to make an impact right out of the gate, with the hope that he can stabilize the outfield. There are still questions about the depth of the rotation, particularly in a short postseason series, but there’s plenty of talent on the roster to get St. Louis to that destination.

Mike Trout just experienced the thrill of high-stakes baseball for the second time in his major league career. They were the most fun 10 days he’s ever had. That it all ended on a strikeout against Shohei Ohtani puts their MLB frustrations at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Maybe the depth the Angels have built up this offseason will help, and Taylor Ward will continue his breakout, and Anthony Rendon will finally be healthy for a full season. And maybe the injury concerns throughout their roster will be too much to overcome, and a bad bullpen betrays any lead Trout and Ohtani build together.

The Twins quietly had an impressive offseason, deepening their entire roster after a disappointing finish to their season last year and inserting themselves into the playoff conversation again. They improved their rotation by bringing in Pablo López, and the return to health of Tyler Mahle and Kenta Maeda should only help. They also bolstered their outfield depth in case Byron Buxton gets injured again. Oh, and Carlos Correa is back in town.

The regular season hasn’t even started, and the Phillies have already had their fair share of ups and downs this year. Trea Turner showed why he was such a huge addition to the roster with his heroics during the WBC, but then Rhys Hoskins tore his ACL at the end of spring training, sidelining him for the entire season. Philadelphia was already going to be missing Bryce Harper for a significant chunk of time, so Hoskins’ injury is yet another hurdle on the path to the playoffs. There’s also a bit of concern about the depth of the rotation after top prospect Andrew Painter and Ranger Suárez both hurt their elbows this spring.

After making a surprise visit to October last year and nearly toppling the Yankees in the Division Series, the Guardians are busy locking up the young core that brought them that far. They signed breakout second baseman Andrés Giménez to a seven-year extension yesterday and are in the middle of “advanced negotiations” with a number of other players. The injury to Triston McKenzie puts a damper on the pre-season excitement, but José Ramírez’s return to full health and a deep and young roster puts them on even footing with the ascendant Twins.

The Mariners finally broke their playoff drought after two decades of frustration. They have the face of the franchise, Julio Rodríguez, locked into a record-breaking extension, and they made sure Luis Castillo would be around for this competitive window, too. Their offseason reinforcements look like they can capably replace the production that was lost from last year’s team. Granted, Seattle might be banking a little too heavily on Jarred Kelenic finally figuring it out, and the excellent rotation gets rather thin after the sixth man on the depth chart, but this is a team that looks and feels like it’s on the rise.

Stop me if you’ve read this before: the Brewers have a fantastic pitching staff, but there are concerns about how they’re going to score runs. That’s been the refrain throughout the last few years, and it’s the same story this year. Sneaking out of the big Sean Murphy deal with William Contreras in hand was a shrewd piece of maneuvering, and Jesse Winker could rebound in a new environment. But questions about Christian Yelich’s ability to carry a lineup remain, and Milwaukee’s wave of rookies is poised to take on significant amounts of playing time this year. The season will hinge on whether or not any of those players end up being the solution to the run production issues.

Tier 5 – High-Variance Could Be’s
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality Playoff Odds
Red Sox 83-79 101 95 94 9.6 138 34.4%
Rangers 83-79 99 93 104 16.6 121 39.8%
Giants 82-80 99 94 96 -17.5 99 40.5%
White Sox 80-82 99 102 100 3.8 86 31.2%

The Red Sox are in a weird place, simultaneously acting like a big budget contender and a small market rebuilding club. They signed Rafael Devers to a deserved extension and Masataka Yoshida to a sizable deal. They also watched as Xander Bogaerts left to sign with San Diego. Then there are the injuries: Trevor Story could be out for the year after tearing his UCL; Adalberto Mondesi is still recovering from knee surgery; and a significant portion of the starting rotation is either hurt or rehabbing. Boston has the talent to be competitive this year if a lot of things go right, but the long-term direction of the franchise is still up in the air.

The Rangers are determined to prove that a team can simply spend its way out of a rebuilding cycle. The health of the starting rotation, now fronted by Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, and Andrew Heaney, will likely make or break their season. A lot of other teams can say that, too, but for the Rangers, it’s the risk they knowingly took on when they spent $240 million on that trio. The bullpen, meanwhile, looks to be as threadbare as it was last year, when Texas lost 35 one-run games.

The Giants couldn’t land either of the big free agents they tried courting this offseason. Instead, they pivoted to upgrading the roster with several additions in the outfield and pitching staff. There’s talent here, and they might even be good enough to challenge for a Wild Card spot if a lot of things go right. Unfortunately, they’re already dealing with a few injuries and can’t afford any more hiccups due to their lack of star power.

Just a few years ago, the White Sox looked like they were poised to run the AL Central for years to come with a young core of players leading them to a 93-win season in 2021. But they took a massive step back last year, and now there are tons of questions about whether or not this same core will be able to perform up to that level again. Chicago’s roster depth is still as thin as it was last year, and the farm system isn’t a strength. This team needs a lot of things to go right to be part of a stacked American League playoff picture.

Tier 6 – On the Up-and-Up
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality Playoff Odds
Orioles 78-84 100 107 100 16.3 98 9.9%
Diamondbacks 78-84 96 103 96 15.9 96 15.1%
Marlins 80-82 97 100 100 6.9 87 22.5%
Cubs 75-87 96 104 103 9.7 64 10.7%

This probably isn’t the year that the Orioles break through, but that time is coming soon. Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson are ready to carry the lineup, with plenty of solid young contributors backing them up. But Baltimore is also sending Grayson Rodriguez to Triple-A to start the season to continue his development. The front office can spin that however it wants, but a team serious about contending would likely have Rodriguez on the Opening Day roster. It feels like the O’s are a year away from truly trying to take on the AL East monsters.

The Diamondbacks signed Corbin Carroll to an eight-year extension this spring. One of the favorites to win the NL Rookie of the Year award, he joins Alek Thomas and Jake McCarthy in one of the most dynamic outfields in baseball. They also brought in promising young catcher in Gabriel Moreno, who should get a long leash to prove himself in the big leagues after Carson Kelly’s forearm injury this spring. There’s a lot left to be desired in the pitching staff, but the future of Arizona’s lineup is finally taking shape.

If there’s a path to contention for the Marlins, it almost certainly goes through their pitching staff. It’s a little less potent now that they’ve shipped out López for Luis Arraez, but there are reinforcements waiting in the high minors. The question, as it always has been, is whether they’ll score enough runs to support their pitchers. With the changes to the shift rules, the Marlins are banking on a high-contact approach with their lineup, hopefully benefitting from the defensive limitations teams are now facing.

They didn’t spend nearly as much as the Rangers, but the Cubs look like they’re trying to short circuit their rebuild by bringing in multiple free agents. More than half of their projected starting lineup is new to the organization, and they deepened their pitching staff with the addition of Jameson Taillon and a handful of new relievers. Will that be enough to push Chicago into the playoff picture? If enough of the veterans can stay upright, and if Seiya Suzuki further acclimates to the major leagues, and if some of the prospects breakthrough, then it might be. Still, there’s forward momentum on the North Side for the first time in a while.

Tier 7 – Rebuilding
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality Playoff Odds
Pirates 74-88 94 107 105 6.8 45 7.1%
Royals 74-88 94 108 101 -16.7 36 5.3%
Tigers 72-90 91 107 105 -5.0 30 4.3%
Reds 69-93 88 103 102 -16.8 27 1.6%

The Pirates also have a bit of forward momentum, though it’s coming from their young prospects who are on the verge of debuting rather than from a slew of free agents. Perhaps a healthy Ke’Bryan Hayes will finally show why he was so highly regarded as a prospect, and maybe Endy Rodriguez will establish himself as a core piece of Pittsburgh’s future. But the success of the rebuild lies with Oneil Cruz and his incredible talent. If he figures out his contact issues, the sky’s the limit for him. If not, the rebuild could take a lot longer than anyone wants in Pittsburgh.

Like the Diamondbacks, the Royals have a young and exciting lineup filled with potential. Bobby Witt Jr., Vinnie Pasquantino, and MJ Melendez are poised to lead the offense, and there are a few other solid contributors around them too. The problem is the pitching staff and its continued lack of progress. Maybe new leadership and a new development team will help the young pitchers rise to their talent level, but until then, this roster is just going to spin its wheels.

A year ago, the Tigers looked like they were ready to break out of their long rebuilding cycle after spending big on the free-agent market. But nothing went according to plan last season: top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene struggled, and major additions Javier Báez and Austin Meadows were invisible. Even if those hitters do take a step forward, the health of Detroit’s young trio of pitchers — Tarik Skubal, Matt Manning, and Casey Mize — remains a serious issue. Any sign of progress from the youngsters or veterans will count as a step forward.

The projections don’t view the Reds very kindly, but they are a lot further along in their rebuild than some of the other clubs in this tier. Their rotation has three legitimate front-end starters in Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft, and there’s a wave of infield prospects close to making their major league debuts, headlined by Elly De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte. It’s been a rough year and a half for fans in Cincinnati, but the future isn’t so far off, and it does look bright.

Tier 8 – Tanking
Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality Playoff Odds
Rockies 67-95 89 104 100 -11.3 46 0.3%
Athletics 70-92 89 110 106 3.8 28 0.8%
Nationals 67-95 89 113 106 -15.5 9 0.3%

The Rockies are too oblivious to be purposefully tanking, but they’re going to be among the teams with the best chance at winning the draft lottery. Losing Brendan Rodgers to a torn labrum certainly doesn’t help. There are some interesting youngsters looking to make their mark in the big leagues this year, and Kris Bryant looks like he’s relatively healthy after a lost first season in black and purple. That should provide some entertainment in Colorado this year, but the future looks bleak until a new direction for the franchise can be plotted.

The Athletics are projected to have a team wOBA under .300 this year. Granted, they posted a .277 wOBA last year, the worst mark by a team since the 1972 Rangers, so their projected .299 wOBA is an improvement! There’s a lot more promise in the pitching staff after it was restocked with prospects through various trades over the last year and a couple of free agents from overseas. That should provide some improvement over last year’s 102-loss season, but the future is still a ways off in Oakland… if the A’s are even playing there in a few years, that is.

The Nationals are in the period of a rebuild where they’re evaluating all the new prospects they’ve brought in during their fire sale. The hope is that Keibert Ruiz, CJ Abrams, Josiah Gray, and MacKenzie Gore form the next core for this franchise; this year is all about finding out if that’s true or not. The next great Nationals team will likely include some of that quartet plus whatever other homegrown talent the development team can produce over the next few years. Just don’t expect that team to coalesce for at least another couple of seasons.

Overall Power Rankings
Rank Team Projected Record wRC+ SP- RP- Fld Team Quality Playoff Odds Δ
1 Braves 92-70 106 89 89 11.4 174 90.5% 0
2 Yankees 91-71 105 91 97 42.1 172 81.0% 0
3 Padres 90-72 111 100 101 0.4 127 85.0% 1
4 Blue Jays 89-73 111 100 101 20.1 151 71.6% 1
5 Mets 89-73 108 94 102 5.4 144 77.4% -2
6 Astros 89-73 111 99 99 -3.4 138 77.5% 2
7 Dodgers 87-75 107 97 99 10.9 152 70.7% 0
8 Rays 87-75 104 94 100 9.7 138 61.4% -2
9 Cardinals 85-77 106 101 99 4.4 119 67.5% 0
10 Angels 85-77 107 98 104 -8.2 114 47.5% 5
11 Twins 83-79 102 101 100 25.8 129 47.5% 1
12 Phillies 84-78 98 93 99 0.1 104 51.8% 1
13 Guardians 82-80 101 103 97 26.3 123 47.3% -2
14 Mariners 83-79 103 102 99 4.7 110 40.6% -4
15 Brewers 84-78 97 92 100 -5.1 96 59.0% 2
16 Red Sox 83-79 101 95 94 9.6 138 34.4% -2
17 Rangers 83-79 99 93 104 16.6 121 39.8% -1
18 Giants 82-80 99 94 96 -17.5 99 40.5% 0
19 White Sox 80-82 99 102 100 3.8 86 31.2% 1
20 Orioles 78-84 100 107 100 16.3 98 9.9% -1
21 Diamondbacks 78-84 96 103 96 15.9 96 15.1% 1
22 Marlins 80-82 97 100 100 6.9 87 22.5% -1
23 Cubs 75-87 96 104 103 9.7 64 10.7% 0
24 Pirates 74-88 94 107 105 6.8 45 7.1% 0
25 Royals 74-88 94 108 101 -16.7 36 5.3% 1
26 Tigers 72-90 91 107 105 -5.0 30 4.3% 1
27 Reds 69-93 88 103 102 -16.8 27 1.6% 2
28 Rockies 67-95 89 104 100 -11.3 46 0.3% 0
29 Athletics 70-92 89 110 106 3.8 28 0.8% -4
30 Nationals 67-95 89 113 106 -15.5 9 0.3% 0

Jake Mailhot is a contributor to FanGraphs. A long-suffering Mariners fan, he also writes about them for Lookout Landing. Follow him on Twitter @jakemailhot.

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Eric Brooks
1 year ago

I know they’ve taken great strides in recent years, but are the Yankees really that much better at fielding than everyone else?

Mac Quinnmember
1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Brooks

It’s framing. I’d have to look but I bet more than half of that is in Trevino and Higashioka’s framing stats. Also Bader.

1 year ago
Reply to  Mac Quinn

And Donaldson, and LeMahieu, and, if he can replicate even a sliver of what he did last year, Cabrera. Torres is probably the worst of their regulars in the field and he’s not awful.

Edit: But, 40+? Yeah, that’s…wrong.

Last edited 1 year ago by sandwiches4ever
1 year ago
Reply to  Mac Quinn

That may also explains how the Phillies actually managed a positive mark for their fielding. It seems like the catchers are being weighted too heavily.

1 year ago
Reply to  Mac Quinn

Yeah this is pretty clearly what’s going on. Not sure why they went with a Fld number rather than projected RAA, which is what’s used during the season.

1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Brooks

Especially compared to the Cardinals, unless Trevino is like 60 points better than Contreras or something

1 year ago
Reply to  Eric Brooks

That’s what really caught my eye as well. Hard to believe.